Importer of Memorable Wines from the New Old World of Eastern and Central Europe
Importer of Memorable Wines from the New Old World of Eastern and Central Europe

Sziegl, Hajós-Baja, Hungary

Winery map

At a Glance

Sand, hard packed loess and clay
Gentle slopes and low hills
Kadarka, Kékfrankos, Zweigelt, Kövidinka, Cserszegi Fűszeres, Olaszrizling, Rajnai Rizling, Traminer, and Hárslevelű
5 hectares
Balázs Sziegl
Balázs Sziegl showing old vines growing on sandy soil

The People

About 3 hours south and just east of the Danube River is the village Hajós. More importantly, about 3 km outside of town is the Hajósi Pincefalu (the cellar village of Hajós). With deep Swabian roots dating back to the 1700s, there are over 1200 cellars dug into the hillsides. Driving through the Pincefalu is like a cellar theme park with sandy vineyards on top and narrow streets and cellar doors below. While this area was of course dealt the typical Hungarian historical blow after the world wars and Communism, the older sandy vineyards were left alone due to the risk of heavy Soviet tractors collapsing the vast cellar system. Here we meet Petra and Balázs Sziegl. Balázs studied viticulture and wrote a thesis on Kadarka. He is focused on the vineyards, a ton of clonal research, and preserving the older vines. Petra studied winemaking and is principally in the cellar. A young couple, new baby, and juggling a winery just founded in 2012, brand new plantings of 5, and farming a total of around 5 hectares entirely themselves. On our last visit we shared a proper Bajai Halászlé (Fisherman’s soup) made with only 5 ingredients: water, paprika, onions, fish, and pasta. It’s one of those dishes that is super unique, delicious and highlighted how versatile, vibrant and equally honest these wines are.

Sandy vineyard


The sand is almost ubiquitous here, and there are many forested areas buffering in all directions. Increasing and maintaining vine density is also key. Training ranges from goblet, to head to cordon depending on the location, clone and age of the vines. There are old fruit trees in the middle of the vineyards and often other crops nearby as well. They till when needed, but otherwise prefer to have the cover crops manage vigor. The Herreberg vineyard is 15 ha total, and Sziegl has around 3.5 ha. Their plantings here are mostly Kadarka (5 clones plus old vine material), Kékfrankos, Zweigelt and Kövidinka. Where the sand is particularly thick, they plant cover crops, otherwise they mow the natural growth. This vineyard was once noted as a “grand cru” by the top families in the region. The Hársfás-út vineyard is near Érsekhalma (15 min drive from Hajós) with a deep layer of hard packed loess and clay. It’s a rare anomaly amongst all of the sand. Roughly 4 hectares of Cserszegi Fűszeres, Olaszrizling, Rajnai Rizling, Traminer, and Hárslevelű were planted here in 1981.

Fisherman soup at Sziegl


With a traditional cellar it follows that the winemaking follow suite. Grapes are hand harvested, reds are often destemmed, whites are often whole cluster and let to soak at uncontrolled temperatures as long as possible, and everything ferments with native yeasts. Most everything continues fermenting and aging in 500ml Hungarian oak. Almost all wines are unfiltered, unfined, and the only addition is a little SO2 at bottling.

SzieglBábel 2019
Red Wine , Organic
Kékfrankos; Kadarka;
1.2 g/l
7.5 g/l
2 grape varieties, 5 different harvest passes and 5 different processing methods. This is essentially a “Siller,” which is in between a light red and a rosé. More tannins than a whole cluster press, way more acidity due to the earlier picks, and more aromatics as well. Everything is layered and ferments spontaneously together in tank. After fermentation, the wine was on fine lees for 6 months. Bottled unfined and unfiltered with a small amount of sulfites added at bottling. It’s got just over 1 g/l RS, acid a plenty, a little texture, and of course a dose of spice. This is what Petra would start you with when you visit the winery.
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SzieglKadarka Herreberg 2018
Red Wine , Organic
1.5 g/l
5.3 g/l
This vintage was picked from short goblet trained vines at the end of September. Both were fermented in open vats, 2 punchdowns a day, and then pressed off to 225L and 300L used oak barrels for 8 months of aging. Bottled unfiltered, and despite the light color, has both intensity and energy.
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SzieglKövidinka 2018
White Wine , Organic
1.4 g/l
5.8 g/l
Hand harvested on the 21st of October. The grapes after destemming had 7 days on skin maceration. After 7 days of fermentation, the wine fermented in 500 L oak barrel. Aged for 7 months on the lees. Unfiltered. Golden color, fresh citrus aromas on the nose, full-bodied with tannins on the palate, long aftertaste.
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SzieglOlaszrizling Birtokbor 2019
White Wine
0.9 g/l
5 g/l
The Sziegl family started in 2012 by bartering with some of the older vineyard owners to work the land in exchange for making them wine. They now live above the winery in the Pincefalú (cellar village) of Hajós-Baja. The village has Swabian winemaking roots back to the 1700s and is literally 24 streets of 1200 cellars flanked by vineyards. The ancient seabed soils (loess, clay, sand), biodiversity and organic farming along with multiple different clones brings salt to balance out the aromatics and thicker skins for texture and structure. A perfect table white for a paprika rich Halászlé (fisherman’s stew) and getting a sense for this place.
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